The trusty old eee pc does not let you down, in fact i retired my old 701 from yesteryear and bought myself a 901 off eBay for about £50. it was the eeePC that the 701 should have been. Yes it only has a 1.6ghz processor, but after a 2gb RAM upgrade and a 128gb SSD upgrade, along with sticking a different WiFi card in (despite the 1024 x 600 resolution screen) its a nifty bit of kit.
In the past, I’ve just installed either backtrack or Kali (depending how far back you go) onto an SD card and used the old hacktop to cause various shenanigans in numerous hotels, businesses and even tower blocks for my own amusement. Now getting Kali working on this was a tad problematic. the small screen estate and low specs of the machine meant that out of the box, Kali was sluggish, to combat this, it was a case of rolling an i386 version of lxde Kali via a virtual machine and installing that on an SD card, i still have the ISO kicking around and you can grab it from here if its of any use to you, but bare in mind it will need updating from the repositories. If its too out of date for you then roll your own as I’m probably not going to be updating the download until i have a reason to re-roll the ISO.
While once i would recommend backtrack/Kali for the eee’s as its main OS, that ship has somewhat sailed with the newer versions. That being said it is still very viable as an operating system for them but these days i would recommend downloading the rolling version of Slitaz and installing that. If I’m honest i usually only ever really used the thing to crack WiFi or maybe a bit of arp poisoning on a hotel wireless network to change the word “the” into the word “penis” for some random user that was trying to surf the internet, what can i say? growing up is boring.
nonetheless, Slitaz is my all new favourite distro for these ageing netbooks, i took it upon myself to try my hand at compiling a kernel specifically for the eeepc 901 rolling version of Slitaz, firstly i wanted it to boot up quickly, secondly i wanted all of the hardware to work.
Through much internet searching i acquired a stock image of the original Xandros OS that would come per-installed on these things, this gave me the original 901 config file for kernel 126.96.36.199 yeah, that long ago! now lets be fair, i have had some joy with building 4.14 for them, actually worked nicely but lost webcam functionality, however Kernel 2.6.39 contains all of the drivers needed for the machines to run.
it was a case of running the command:
root@slitaz:/home/fs# cooklinux 2.6.36 --tazconfig --menuconfig --bzImage --modules
then browsing to the old config file i’d found and going over it to make sure everything was set up correctly. for this i found the arch Linux wiki invaluable.
- Network card: Device Drivers – Ethernet (1000Mbit) – Atheros L1E Gigabit Ethernet support
- WiFi card: Device Drivers – Staging Drivers – Ralink 2860
- Eee Hotkey stuff: Device Drivers – X86 Platform Specific Device Drivers – EeePC Hotkey Driver
- Video Camera: Device Drivers – Multimedia Devices – Video Capture adapters – V4L USB devices – USB Video Class (UVC)
- Sound Card: Device Drivers – Sound card support – ALSA – PCI Sound devices – Intel HDA – Build Realtek HDA codec
- Touchpad: Device Drivers – Input Device support – Mice – PS/2 mouse – Synaptics & Elantech PS/2 protocol ext.
- For flawless operation with the eee-control FSB frequency changing mechanism, you have to compile: Device Drivers – I2C support – I2C Hardware Bus support – Intel 82801 (ICH) as a module.
Thus i am now the proud owner of an ageing but stable 2.6.36 kernel for eeepc 901 Slitaz installation. i may update this post with other kernel builds if i ever get around to it. I hope this information will prove useful to someone!
3.0.1 eeePC 901 Slitaz Kernel – built for the atom processor and trimmed out some of the unused mods – extra wifi cards built in